The Dark Side of UI

With overwhelming benefits such as improving focus, reducing eye strain, and lowering energy consumption, it’s no wonder users are falling in love with Dark Mode. In 2020 Android Authority reported 91.8% of users now choose it where offered. But how do you avoid it turning your beautifully crafted brand into a hideous nightmare? We look at how you can avoid the pitfalls and regain control of your digital brand identity.

Build it into your brand strategy

Take Dark Mode into consideration from the beginning, include it as part of your initial branding exercise, or latest brand iteration. While Dark Mode naturally enhances some brands that use a darker look and feel to create drama, it can really reduce the emotional power and connection of some colour palettes. Define how you would like your palette to be used in digital collateral, especially email and social. If you have a more muted palette to inspire a calm or homely feeling, you may want to weight it with extra white to balance out the black of the UI that will be displaying your content. If you have a very vibrant palette you may want to include some desaturated colours that are less harsh when against black.

Legibility

When you come to designing your logos, include a version with a white outline on a transparent background so that it’s visible to all users. Or place it on a carefully chosen white shape so that when Dark Mode picks it up it looks designed rather than forgotten about. Can you create a logo colourway that works on both dark and light backgrounds for the ultimate brand consistency? Make sure you have plenty of contrast for your typography. Using live text and text links in emails keeps things simple.

As brands and designers integrate Dark Mode more and more into their digital strategy it will be exciting to see how this ripples out into design trends. Will we see an increase in Black and White branding themes to make the swap easy? Or will we see more colourful but flexible palettes coming through?

Test, Test, Test!

When you are ready to send a marketing email or post on social test how it will appear in Dark Mode. Some platforms have these visual tests built in, however it’s good to check on a variety of devices and email apps as they all execute the flip to Dark Mode slightly differently. Check your email flows well and isn’t broken up by a mixture of transparent and non-transparent images. All elements should still be visible. Make sure your look and feel and key message are still being communicated.